Flotilla 11-9 news and events

New Crew Members

Flotilla 11-9, the Vineyard’s U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary chapter, decorated two of its members with operational medals at an Oct. 19 ceremony held at Mansion House in Vineyard Haven. Lobsterman Wayne Iacono and Cars Unlimited owner David Pothier received the medals from Master Chief Robert Riemer of Station Menemsha.

The medals were in recognition of Boat Crew qualification. Members who are Crew qualified can assist in Safety Patrols, Regatta Patrol, boat parades and Chart Update Patrols - Verifying the accuracy and completeness of information published on charts and related navigation publications. They also work with USCG Station Menemsha in training missions.


Auxiliary Food Service Specialist (AUXFS) program

Tim Carroll serving food at station Manemsha 

Flotilla Commander Tim Carroll prepares and serves dinner for USCG Station Menemsha personnel

Tim Carroll is the latest member of the Martha’s Vineyard flotilla preparing to become a certified Auxiliary Food Service Specialist (AUXFS). He joins Karen Kukolich who has been serving food at the station for years. Carolyn McClure of flotilla 6-5 has been coordinating the AUXFS members at Station Menemsha. Karen was our first AUX FS and works with Carolyn in the sector.

The Auxiliary Food Services Program is a National Auxiliary Program designed to provide trained Auxiliarists to fill-in at Small Boat Stations or on cutters to relieve active duty FSs. The program allows the active duty FSs to attend training, take leave, etc. without the Station being shorthanded. The AUXFS members can also assist with VIP events, Change of Commands and other events such as picnics. The AUXFS members prepare the food the stations provide, and often supply that home cooked touch during the holidays and at special events.

All AUXFS members have been trained using the Coast Guard Approved Auxiliary Food Services Guides and instructors. Training includes both classroom lectures and culinary skills work followed by a standardized performance qualification completion within 1 year of the initial class. Medical screenings and Hepatitis A vaccines along with a yearly sanitation and team coordination training are also required.



Buzzards Bay Air drop training

On Thursday Sept 28, 2017 members from Flotilla 11-2 (Woods Hole) and 11-09 (Martha’s Vineyard) participated in a combined training mission on Buzzards Bay West of the shipping lanes. The training consisted of 2 sets of two drops from a HC 144 from USCG Air Station Cape Cod.

       HC 144 in flight The drop area of the HC 144

 The EADS HC-144 Ocean Sentry is a medium-range, twin-engined aircraft used by the United   States Coast Guard in the search-and-rescue and maritime patrol missions

Items dropped in the training 

The items dropped were a Pump Can, a Rescue Gear Box, and three large duffle bags.

The day started as flat calm and warm. A gorgeous morning. By the noon conditions were deteriorating, but still within safety limits. Wind was 15 mph gusting to 20. Seas were 5 foot. The Auxiliary facility was the Y Knot owned by Jeff Thomas. Crew consisted of Tim Carroll, Flotilla Commander of the Martha’s Vineyard Flotilla and Russ Gasdia from Woods Hole Flotilla 11-2. A great day was had by all and the Air Station was very appreciative of the opportunity to conduct this training in those conditions.

Captain Timothy Tobiasz followed up:
“Just a quick email to thank you for the outstanding support during our air
drops last week in Buzzards Bay. I was on board the C144 completing my
semiannual mins and quickly noted the winds and seas, although within
limits, were not calm by any means. Thank you again, the training was
outstanding and the support appreciated. Stay safe out there. “


Flotilla Vessel Safety Check Officers highlighted in MV Times article

USCG Petty officer checking PFD on safety patro; 2017 VSC decal

August, 2017: The flotilla was recently highlighted in an article in the MV Times.  In a story about the importance of having the right safety equipment aboard a vessel, reporter Rich Saltzberg accompanied a Station Menemsha boarding team on one of their Safety patrols.  The article emphasizes one of the most important responsibilities of the Auxiliary is to provide free safety checks for recreational boaters. 

Read the entire article HERE

Night Patrol with Station Menemsha

         David Pothier and Glen DeBlase during night patrolTim Carroll during night patrol

 July, 2017: Three members of the flotilla undergo night operations training on CG Station Menemsha’s 47236, a 47 foot MLB. BM3 Gonsalves and crew put Tim Carroll, Glen DeBlase and David Pothier through their paces. Station Menemsha crews and Flotilla members frequently conduct training exercises in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard

2016 Auxiliarist of the Year

Berini accepting Auxiliarist of the year award at DTRAIN

At DTrain in February, Joe Berini was named Auxiliarist of year for 2016 for First District Northern, Division 11, Cape Cod & The Islands. Berini is the FSO-IS and FSO-CS for Flotilla 11-09 on Martha’s Vineyard.



Berini standing radio watch

 Coast Guard Station Menemsha now has two qualified Radio Watchstanders from the Flotilla.  David Pothier and Joe Berini stand regular watches at the station.  This allows the station members who would stand the watch to do additional training. 

Becoming a watchstander is one of the fastest ways to really help the active duty Coast Guard in their missions. By getting qualified at Station Menemsha, you can serve (at your convenience) as a radio watchstander. This means you will work in the radio watch center at the station and monitor for radio calls for assistance. You will maintain communications with any Coast Guard boats that are underway. You will answer the station's telephones. If a MAYDAY call comes in, you will handle the communications.
It takes about 80 hours of training on-site to learn to do this. But, it is a rewarding task; you are freeing up an active duty member for other tasks. You will be working with the station in the same manner and under the same orders as an active duty Coast Guard person.
Normal watches ("shifts") are four hours each, 24/7. You can arrange the times to suit your availability and desires.
All it takes is some basic people skills and a commitment to help the public and the Coast Guard. You'll receive all the training and practice you need.  



Flotilla member Wayne Iacono


Wayne Iacono, a member of flotilla 9 fished for lobster off MV

Wayne Iacono, a member of Flotilla 9 was featured in an article in the Martha Vineyard Times in June 2016.

Mr. Iacono grew up in Vineyard Haven, and has spent his life on Vineyard waters, commanding his first skiff at the tender age of 10. “It wasn’t unusual back then,” he said. “A lot of kids had their own boats.” He started lobstering when he was 12 years old, when he put out 10 pots off West Chop. “I just kind of picked it up after that,” he said.

After graduating from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, class of 1965, Mr. Iacono enlisted in the Coast Guard, spending most of his time on the Vineyard and Cape Cod, ending his career as Officer in Charge of Buzzards Bay Light Station. Throughout his Coast Guard years, he still fished commercially on his days off, except during his yearlong tour of Vietnam, where he went on river patrols that often saw heavy action.

He continued to fish part-time while he was the Vineyard Haven harbormaster, and while the Freedom was being built at the Bruno Stillman boatyard in New Hampshire in the early ’80s.

Now Mr. Iacono fishes for lobster, scallop, and sea bass, with a little bit of plumbing and caretaking worked in. On occasion his son Vinny, owner of Creekville Oysters and Creekville Landscape, lends a hand on the Freedom.

Story and photos reprinted courtesy The Martha's Vineyard Times. 


Flotilla Elects Officers

 At their Saturday, Nov. 19, meeting, Flotilla members re-elected Timothy Carroll and Glenn DeBlase as flotilla commander and vice flotilla commander. The elections were held at Coast Guard Station Menemsha; division flotilla officers Ray Hogan and Mike Hays traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to congratulate the new commanders. Mr. Carroll and Mr. DeBlase will lead our 16-member flotilla, which was officially established a year ago, after a five-year development period, as a detachment of the group in Woods Hole.


Flotilla VFC to the Rescue

Boat burns off Menemsha as CG pours water on flames.

It’s all in a day’s work for Glenn DeBlase, the Vice Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 11-9.

Mr. DeBlase is the assistant Harbormaster in Menemsha. He and Mr. Jason, the harbormaster, were in the harbormaster’s shack on June 17th, 2016. Mr. Jason said, “We heard a call on the radio — it was Rick [Penny], I recognized his voice, and all he said was, ‘I think we have a bit of problem out here.’ And I knew him well enough to know from the tenor in his voice that something serious was going on. So we immediately got underway.”

DeBlase and Mr. Jason raced out of the harbor. “The people were up on the bow, the adults and the kids, and we could see smoke coming out of the cabin,” Mr. Jason said. “And we zipped up alongside and started taking people off the boat.” They returned to the dock with the passengers. He estimated it took him about five minutes to unload. When they returned with more firefighting equipment, the boat was in flames.

Station Menemsha initially sent a 29 footer to make sure all people were safe, then returned with a 47 footer. They were unable to save the boat which eventually became a total loss.

(Story and photos reprinted courtesy The Martha's Vineyard Times)



New AUXOP Members

Saturday, June 16, at a ceremony in the training room of Coast Guard Station Menemsha, Coast Guard Auxiliary officials recognized three members of Flotilla 11-9, the Island’s recently established auxiliary, for having completed the Operational Auxiliarist Program (AUXOP).

Islanders Derrick Teel, Joe Berini, and Glenn DeBlase passed the program. In recognition of their hard work, each received a decoration known as the AUXOP Device. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division Commander Michael Hays, along with Division Vice Commander Raymond Hogan, were on hand to present the decorations.

Flotilla commander and Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll said attaining the AUXOP device is a special accomplishment, and enumerated what it takes to get one. “It is achieved through extensive study and academic testing in weather, seamanship, marine patrol, radio communications, leadership courses, marine safety, pollution prevention, and navigation,” he said.

Although not present, several other members of Flotilla 11-9 received awards or commendations on Saturday. Norman Somer and Veronica Murry received certificates for five years of service to the Auxiliary. Chris Scott received a certificate for completing 50 hours of public affairs activity. David Pothier earned a certificate of advancement to Instructor Specialist, and was awarded a certificate for superior performance of duty. In addition, he was honored with a plaque as flotilla member of the year.

(Story and photos reprinted courtesy The Martha's Vineyard Times)

Public Education on the Vineyard



Mr. Scott and Mr. Pothier in classroom


  David Pothier and Chris Shaw wrap up the Boating Skills and Seamanship course

June 2016: The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) course is a comprehensive course designed for both the experienced and the novice boater. The course, now in its 14th edition published in 2013, consists of core required two hour lessons plus elective lessons, providing up-to-date knowledge for handling boats in all conditions.